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Bite the bullet and kill off the quangos

WE were promised so much but a year after the Government announced plans to cull hundreds of quangos, we're less than halfway there.

The reform programme of state agencies has been painfully slow, with just 100 set to go by the end of the year but the fate of more than 120 still under consideration.

This is despite the Government announcing, in November last year, that progress was being made, and that savings of up to €20m a year would be achieved.

An immediate €360,000 saving could be made with just one phone call to the National Consumer Agency, telling them to cancel plans to appoint public relations consultants on a three-year contract.

Given it's not going to exist in just two months' time, it beggars belief that the work was ever put out to tender.

Most of these agencies should already be gone, given the last government announcement of a rationalisation plan back in 2008.

Why is it taking so long to decide just what to do with more than 120 quangos established at a time when things were good, and money was no object?

It doesn't take a critical review to come up with a plan to have two quangos share back-office services like IT, payroll and finance.

Just do it.

Why does it take another year to absorb the Building Regulations Advisory Body into the Department of the Environment?

And given there's now an inspectorate of prisons, what's the delay in reducing or merging the number of Prison Visiting Committees, designed to make sure the penal system was operating as designed?

The Government says it is trying to change a culture of quangos which built up over 20 years.

The time is now. No more reviews; it's decision time.

Irish Independent